Trails Near Keswick Dam
Keswick Dam stands at the southern end of 23,800-acre Keswick Reservoir, a narrow man-made lake on the Sacramento River. In addition to swimming, boating and excellent trout fishing, the area is home to several scenic hiking and biking trails.
The Sacramento River Rail Trail follows the entire length of the reservoir from north to south, and visitors to nearby Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Shasta National Forest enjoy countless hiking options.
Several trails explore the western shore of Keswick Reservoir, but the Sacramento River Rail Trail is the prime attraction on this side of the lake. Open to hiking and bicycling, this 8-foot-wide paved trail hugs the lakeshore along the route of a former railroad line. The trail is a continuing work in progress, with a planned length of 20 miles.
At the time of publication, you can start at any of several trailheads along the 9-mile section of trail between the Keswick Dam picnic area and the Cappie-Shasta Campground. Other trails on this side of the lake include the 3-mile Middle Creek Trail, a paved trail that connects to the Sacramento River trail south of Keswick Dam, along with the adjoining Salt Creek Trail, a dirt single-track for hikers and bikers.
You can explore the landscape east of Keswick Reservoir on 25 miles of interconnected trails available to hikers as well as bicyclists. The southernmost trail is the F.B. Trail, which traverses some of the steepest terrain in the area and has outstanding views of the reservoir. This trail is accessible from Ribbon Bridge and Keswick Dam Road.
At its northern end, it connects to the Hornbeck Trail, which follows the path of a historic mining railroad and is open to horseback riding as well as hiking and biking. Trail access, including parking for horse trailers, is on Quartz Hill Road. From this trail, you can reach the Upper and Lower Sacramento Ditch trails, which explore the surrounding terrain using the path of an old water ditch.
Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
About 20 minutes west of Keswick Dam, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area spans over 200,000 acres of rugged canyons and old-growth forests, including 3,500-acre Whiskeytown Lake. The recreation area has dozens of hiking trails, many of them also open to bicyclists and equestrians.
Trails are available for visitors of all skill levels, and some of the easier routes include the Shasta Divide Nature Trail and the Crystal Creek Falls and Picnic Area Trail, both of which cover flat terrain and run for less than half a mile.
For a more challenging hike, consider the Kanaka Peak Trail, an 8-mile loop that covers some of the most rugged terrain in Whiskeytown, including a 2,600-foot peak with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
Shasta National Forest
It would take a lifetime to explore all the trails in Shasta National Forest. Along with the adjoining Trinity National Forest, Shasta spans more than 2.2 million acres, with more than 450 miles of trails. The closest trails to Keswick Dam are those that explore the area around Shasta Lake, a major reservoir on the Sacramento River about 10 miles upstream from Keswick.
Options include the Fisherman’s Point Trail, which is open to foot traffic only and leads to some of the best fishing spots at the southern end of the lake, and the Clikapudi Trail, which winds through 8 miles of shady forest and is open to hiking, bicycling and horseback riding.